.This is project born of the ongoing frustration the ideas encompassed by "sex" and "gender" have never been easy to capture consistently within health models. Those terminologists among us have always said this topic was the quintessential example that proves "terminology is hard." This project is going to try use some tried and true approaches to how we model information (data elements, value sets, code systems) and use them to define/harmonize some aspects, likely not all, for representing sex/gender. This project will result in a balloted informational document that will define use-context collections that also include appropriate value sets. These artifacts can then be associated with model elements using binding parameters that are informed by the metadata the project will identify with each use context. 

The project must take into account actual user needs and include end user communities, including the international community. Communities such as DaVinci, HSPC/CIIC, Argonaut, IPS, pharmacy, the LGBTQ community and many others. Importantly we must walk that fine line of allowing multiple approaches to very similar things without requiring harmonization from the outset, yet we will harmonize if at all possible.   

We expect that once completed, the set of use-contexts, currently called sex-gender types, can be used to clarify that certain existing model implementations actually intend users to assume one sex or gender entry actually represent multiple distinct sex-gender types that can in fact have different values that use the same code. For example, a single "sex" field that at data entry time is perceived to mean "current gender identity" but is then subsequently used to represent "current phenotypic organ clinical sex." In that case the initial choice of "M" may in fact properly be represented as "F" for the latter use.

Link to the Vocab Q4 minutes where this was discussed

Please participate on determining values for Gender Identity!

January 2021 HL7 Gender Harmony PASSED Ballot!

Thank you to the many people who participated in the ballot. We now begin the ballot reconciliation process to address the all the comments. Once that is completed we will publish the finalized document. 

Fortunately it is clear that we are victims of our own success because many in the community are ready to implement the proposed changes we outline in the logical model, within our current Implementation Guides, and other standards. No one wants to wait! 

Therefore we are going to modify our original Project Scope Statement (PSS) to include work on making changes to FHIR resources, V2 guidance on how to include our approach in existing 2x structures, and impact on C-CDA. During the January HL7 WGM we met with the following groups, all of which are interested in co-sponsoring this expanded PSS:

  • Patient Administration (responsible for the Patient Resource and other related resources, and V2.)
  • O&O (Responsible for Observation and V2)
  • FM (Financial related) 
  • Structured Documents (C-CDA)
  • Cross-workgroup Projects (US Core)

We will begin work on both activities with our first meeting after the Jan WGM - Feb 8 at our normal time 4pm ET

Final publication of the specification, when completed, will be available here:


Survey is now closed - thanks to all who participated.

Dashboard link: https://www.surveymonkey.ca/stories/SM-NT3VYRSD/

Please participate!

You do not need to be an HL7 member to participate, but to leave comments and really get the most out of your participation, you will need an HL7 Confluence Login. To get one please Request an Account.

Like many of the HL7 projects, this project has matured and adapted over time, making some of the pages outdated. We recommend new participants engage by:

  1. Joining the bi-weekly calls
  2. Reviewing the Context Definition Page to review the context definitions created by this project
  3. For background information and/or to review information intially submitted by international project participants, see the Implementations and SDO Use Case page
  4. Leaving comments on any of the related pages
  5. Contacting project leads Rob McClure and Caroline Macumber with any other comments/questions or concerns

We need USE CASES for examples of situations where non-typical patient sex or gender has an impact on clinical care. See slide 2 in this presentation as a general example but we need input on specific machines, lab tests, etc. that are impacted and how to implement in a non disruptive way.

Gender Harmony Meeting Calls

Every other Monday 4pm ET for 90 min using

Join Zoom Meeting - https://zoom.us/j/7183806281?pwd=WHVnUUlkWWhhcnRaYk9sWWQyOEkvUT09 | Meeting ID: 718 380 6281  Password: 370553

Dial-in: +1 646 558 8656 US (New York)

Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/aciVC9RrJ6

View all call details at http://www.hl7.org/concalls/CallDetails.aspx?concall=48191

Project ID 1533

TSC Approval 2019-07-08

Project Naming

Some folks suggested we try a different name to ensure communication makes it through e-mail filters.  Please list any suggested project names here:

DIGS - Discrete Interoperability for Gender and Sex

New DIGSY - New Discrete Interoperability for Gender and Sex, yo.

Useful Links

Short URL for project: http://hl7.me/GHP

LOINC definitions of Sex and Gender

WHO on Gender

German HL7 page on Geschlecht (Gender)

Health Standards Collaborative Approaches to Terminology for Gender and Sex

Canada Health Infoway Sex and Gender Working Group